Tag Archive: songwriting


Colleen Francis

The Dallas Songwriters Association 3rd Saturday showcase on September 16, was held in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl (PSB) due to a last minute change. Angela’s at the Crosswalk has been sold and the new owner cancelled all music indefinitely. Julie Holmer, one of the former owners, assisted DSA in finding a location because of the sudden announcement.

The showcase was from 9-11 p.m. – as opposed to 7:30 – 10 at Angela’s. League play at the bowling alley ends at 9 p.m. and open bowl begins. The sound system was set up so that the performers  were playing to the people in the lounge, but could be heard by customers walking into PSB and bowlers on that end of the building.

Colleen Francis opened the show at 9. With the casual bowling atmosphere, she played

Host Dan Roark

mostly originals, but threw in a few covers. The crowd in the lounge was fluid, mostly consisting of bowlers coming in from the bowling lanes and people waiting for a lane. While there was little applause at the end of songs, it was obvious people were listening and looking in to see who was playing. Colleen’s set included her songs, Wildflower, and crowd favorite, Better Than This.

Host Dan Roark followed Francis at 9:45. While people moved in and out of, and by, the bar, he played River That Flows and the Aardvark song among others. A small crowd of people were standing in the bar when Dan played Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville to finish his set. The security guard was seen tapping his foot and nodding his head.

Jeff Stachowski

Jeff Stachowski began to play about 10:20 for the final set of the evening. He began with his love trilogy: It’s Not Love, 99 Postcards, and Month of Mondays. He also played crowd favorites, 5 Miles of Smiles, and Little Green Men. Jeff also has a band called PROPELLER. Being a comedian in a former life, Stachowski mixes humor with his music.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The lounge at Plano Super Bowl

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase has moved. Angela’s at the Crosswalk was sold last week and the new owner is cancelling most of the music events. This Saturday, September 16, the showcase will be from 9 – 11 p.m. in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl on K Ave. on a trial basis (for both parties).

Colleen Francis will open the show at 9 p.m. and play until 9:40. Host Dan Roark will play from 9:40-10:20. Jeff Stachowski will play from 10:20 – 11p.m. It will be a good show.

After the show, bowl a game or two during open bowling. Plano Super Bowl is open 24 hours. They also have really good food.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

David Card

David Card, Poor David his own self, put the benefit at Poor David’s Pub together in six days. I am proud to be a member of Team PDP that produced a successful benefit and raised  over $4000 on Saturday, September 2. The money  was delivered to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a pet rescue agency in Port Aransas.

I opened the show and was happy to be the first in a long line of songwriters and one cover band.

Dan Roark/Mr. Troll/Don Wall/Sam Baker/Bill Nash/Loose Change/Elizabeth Wills/Grady Yates/Jimmy Baldwin/Mike Freiley/Bob and Sally Ackerman/Caroline Murphy/Jimmy Adcock Trio/Rickey Gene Wright/Tim York/Travis Buster/Rick Babb/Annie Benjamin/Grace Pettis/Sonia of Disappear Fear/Greg Schroeder/Ann Armstrong and Steve Hughes/Baylis Laramore.

I will post pictures on my Facebook music page. I had to leave after Caroline Murphy so I may have the exact order a little off. If people who have pictures of the other acts would send them to me, I’ll add them to the album.

Thanks to David Card, Clare Card, all the great songwriters and musicians, the food crew and all of Team PDP for a wonderful benefit for our southern neighbors.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

I was guest host for Mr. Troll at the Poor David’s Pub (PDP) open mic on Monday, August 28. I started the evening off at 7:30 with my Poor David’s Pub song and a couple of others. A second time newcomer, Michael Williams came next. He played three nice songs, including a bluesy number, despite his insistence that he “still needs to practice.”

The inimitable and cynical Roy Howell

Michael Williams

followed Michael with three songs, including his “mass murderer song” dedicated to John Lennon. Cort Harris, a first time newcomer, preceded the featured artists, Dan and the Decade. He had a nice voice and country/americana style.

Visually, Dan and the Decade look like a culturally diverse Buddy Holly and the Crickets. And these young men can certainly rock and roll. They are definitely in sync with one another. Lead vocalist Dan Friedman and Vivek Koshti both play guitar, with Kyle Lester on bass, and Vinay Kotamarti on drums.

Dan and the Decade

Dan and the Decade brought friends and fans and played a tight half hour set. This was their premier performance and they did quite nicely. A band to watch as they bond more musically. They will only get better. Like them on Facebook and go see them when you can. It will be worth it.

Rob Case, former Houston resident with family still there, played a set which included

Cort Harris

Bayou City. Bayou City is about Houston and why Rob left in the first place. Rob and Lynda’s family are safe, but they may be headed down to help out.

Michael Newkirk began what I called the “extended absence” set. Michael, Jeff Stachowski, and Tin Man Travis returned to PDP open mic after an extended period of time. We were glad to see them. Michael Newkirk is a country crooner of sorts. Jeff has also been a comedian. The humor and cynicism shows in his songs, such as 99 Postcards. Tin Man Travis played Stormy Monday, and Georgia, to end the open mic.

Another good show you didn’t get to see. (More pictures on my Facebook music page.) Support open mics – you won’t regret it.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

David Card

In a stroke of luck, Poor David’s Pub had this Saturday, September 2, open. In a stroke of misfortune, the Kerrville Fall Festival was cancelled in support of their hurricane stricken neighbors.

So David Card is putting together a one day “festival” in support of the hurricane victims. Since it’s short notice, we need to get the word out. Follow the link to David’s Facebook page and join in the conversation.

Tell him that you’ll be there to join us in support. If you are a songwriter, let him know if you want to get on the list. I plan to be there to play my Poor David’s Pub song.

Spread the word. Come join us. Spread the word. Let’s support the victims. Oh, and did I say spread the word?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase at Angela’s at the Crosswalk on August 19 began at 7:30 with host, Dan Roark. There was a good sized audience, considering the myriad of musical and culinary choices in the neighborhood. Dan played until 8:10 with a set that included his song, Hello Out There, for those with autism. As well as his pastry song, Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters, which he usually plays at Angela’s.

Loralee Pearman took the mic about 8:10. Loralee is a young

Loralee Pearman

woman – although she looks younger than she really is – with a sweet voice and music in her heart. During the week she teaches  music to young children. With teaching and planning  her upcoming wedding, Pearman doesn’t get to play many shows. She took this time to play some of her newer songs. There was too much going on to write down titles – when they were given. But one doesn’t need song titles to tell you that through her soft, youthful voice she weaves songs of love and life, intertwined with lessons learned.

Bill Hook

Bill Hook began playing about 8:45. He mixed his original songs with chosen cover songs. His choice of cover songs worked for the audience. His originals were varied subject-wise. But in them all dwelt insights. Such as the song he wrote for a friend in a bad relationship. Bill said he “played it for her and she still didn’t get it.”

Which ended another night of good music at the DSA third Saturday showcase. Mark your calendar for the next one on September 16th.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

While Ben Wheeler is not exactly down the street – particularly for me in Farmers Branch – it is a very enjoyable open mic. For one thing, the Forge is usually full when the open mic begins. As a general rule, it’s also a very receptive crowd.

There are usually people who are willing to play along, on cajon, harmonica, and so on. All the performers are good and varied musically. TD Wilt is a jovial host and plays a short set to begin the evening – setting the pace quite nicely.

So pick a Wednesday and head on out. Ben Wheeler is a quaint little country town and the Forge is a local watering hole. You will enjoy the people, the music, and the food. Following is a video TD put together of one of the nights I played.

https://www.facebook.com/guitartud/videos/1726998757594243/

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Joe Catanese, Mr. Troll, Lynda Case

The featured artist at the Poor David’s Pub (PDP) Open Mic hosted by Mr. Troll on Monday, August 14th, was Joe Cat (Catanese). Joe comes by the open mic whenever he tours through Texas on a weekend.  In fact, it’s the only open mic he plays at any more because of the “vibe at Poor David’s.” And there is a good vibe at PDP.

It starts with the chairs that don’t all match. The listening atmosphere which was a hallmark of all three PDP locations. The pictures on the wall of the many performers who have graced PDP stages over the years. Not to mention Poor David his own self.

But, as with David, it’s the people that top off the vibe. There’s Samantha Sanders, her sister, Leslie, and Kevin Hale behind the bar – always with a smile and occasional joke. Mr. Troll, when he is not hosting the open mic on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, is everyone’s introduction to Poor David’s. Sitting at the table in the vestibule, he greets everyone with a smile and hearty hello as he takes money or checks the list. Other than that, he is, as he says, doer of things at Poor David’s.

Last, but definitely not least, there’s Carlos Sanchez running sound. As architect of the sound system, he sits behind the sound board – when not darting to the stage to make adjustments – as grand master of sound. And at the open mic, for a nominal fee he will record your set. Which is more than worth it. If you’re on stage for your set, if you need any adjustments, just ask Carlos. More likely than not, you’ll hear him holler out, “I got it!”

Then there are the “usual suspects” at the open mic. All uniquely individual characters in a bowl of musical soup. Roy Howell, the philosophical cynic. Rob Case, with his disdain for Houston in his song Bayou City. Along with his “minions,” consisting mainly of  talented family and friends. John Mason, myself, Darren Rozell, and Scott Thornton are others.

Come on down, get on the list, and play. Or come and listen. We will talk to you, thank you from the stage, and make you welcome. We love listeners. But most of all, enjoy the vibe.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

After a high speed drive back from Memphis with Cameron on Saturday the 15th, I took a nap, and headed to Angela’s at the Crosswalk for the Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase which I host. As you can imagine, I was a bit tired. A trip to Nashville, Memphis, and back in three days can do that. Then as I was setting up my sound system, a man and woman walked in the door.

The man looked at me and said, “Hi Dan.” I recognized him, but I couldn’t think of his name.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

“You look familiar.”

“I’m Kevin Burns. And this is Tim’s wife, Jan.”

They asked if I would have time to talk to them. I assured them I would and then they went to

Cat McGee

be seated. I finished setting up the sound, all the while trying to remember who they were. When I went to park my car, I called Cyndy and asked her if his name sounded familiar. No such luck. So I searched for his name in Facebook. There are a few Kevin Burns, as you would imagine. But one said we had two mutual friends, Tim Duggins and Jan Duggins. Between the two mutual friends and his pictures, I knew exactly who they were.

If you have heard me play more than once, chances are you have heard me play “River That Flows.” I co-wrote it with Tim Duggins while we were roommates in West Hall at North Texas State (now UNT). Kevin was a member of the group that grew out of our dorm gang.

Because of that, I altered my setlist to begin with River That Flows. In shows with Joel Nichols – for twenty-five years before he died in ’99 – we always started with River That Flows. Jan was Tim’s wife, as you already know.

John Mason

The rest of that story will be in part two. I want to give Cat McGee and John Mason their due. Their combined fans and friends were there. Cat thought that the extended table should be called Johnny Cat. Cat was at her best, as was John. The pictures are of past performances at Angela’s. I usually take pictures and am on top of things, but I was distracted. Find their music at the above links. Their Facebook pages (Cat McGee, John Mason) are the fastest way to know where they are playing. If you get to see either one or both of them play I guarantee you will enjoy the experience.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

When I’m headed to a show, a few blocks away from home I reach back and pat my guitar case in the back floor. As long as I’ve got my guitar, everything will work out. Even if I’m missing a cord or other piece of equipment, I can still play the show as long as I have my guitar. But I’m usually not missing anything.

I had a friend who had to borrow my guitar at an open mic. He brought his guitar case – his guitar just wasn’t in it. Another friend left his guitar in the parking lot when he left for the evening.

Anyone that knows me knows I am a creature of habit. I’m not anal about it, but I do things the same way all the time. And I usually have good reasons for doing so. As the previous examples illustrate.

But (didn’t you see a but coming?), a couple of weeks ago, I was heading to an open mic. I loaded everything but my water bottle and my guitar, as usual. Something distracted me: a phone call, unexpected conversation, who knows.

I said good-bye to Cyndy and left for the restaurant. I was wrestling with the air conditioner for the first part of the trip. I got to the restaurant, got my backpack and my hat. As I opened the back door, it occurred to me that for the first time in over forty years, I had left without my guitar. And for the first time in quite some time, I hadn’t reached around and patted my guitar case. I won’t make that mistake again.

But I sure felt stupid. And I don’t like feeling stupid. What did you do that made you feel stupid?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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